Our 96-acre property includes 28 specialty gardens, which provide an in-depth look into various families of plants, flowers, and trees.
Anne Heard Stokes Butterfly Garden
The Butterfly Garden was originally created by a gift from John Stokes to honor his wife Anne. Over the years the Stokes family has been very generous with ongoing donations in support of this Garden.
Today, the Butterfly Garden incorporates a variety of plants designed to attract butterflies. A major portion of the plants are native. The large variety of herbs in this garden, including parsley, fennel, and chives, acts as food for butterfly larvae. Many species, such as coneflower, goldstrum daisies, asters, and joe pye weed, serve as sources of nectar. Passion vine and red honeysuckle, known as "Mardi Gras," grace the arbor with color and fragrance.
Formerly the Japanese Maple Grove, this area was renovated in 2013, creating a
peaceful and contemplative forest environment that honors the diversity of
East-Asian woodland plants. The Asian Garden showcases plants from East Asian countries, mainly those of China,
Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Southern Himalayas. Since many of these countries
have similar latitudes and growing conditions to those of Memphis, this area provides a setting to evaluate recently-introduced woodland plants. The latest
plantings and pathways showcase existing and newly-planted Japanese maples with easy-to-traverse pathways designed not only to please to the eye, but also
to accent the plantings and landforms, and to slow the visitor’s pace through the
garden. The Asian Garden is a serene spot for visitors to relax during a walk through the Garden.
Blue Star Memorial Marker and Garden
In 2007, a Blue Star Memorial
Marker was dedicated at the corner of Park Avenue and Cherry Road, honoring
all men and women who have served, are
serving, or will serve in the Armed Forces of the United States. The
marker sits in the midst of a specially-designed garden bed, stylized to
represent the stars and stripes of the American flag. This project,
The Tennessee Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc.,
District I, was made possible through a grant from
the National Garden Clubs, Inc., and the Principal Financial Group,
contributions from Memphis
Botanic Garden, garden
clubs, civic organizations, businesses, and individuals.
Cactus and Succulent Garden
In early 2009, a new desert garden featuring cactus, succulents, and other plants was developed in an island in the main parking lot. This use of island space takes advantage of unique conditions and underused space, and is becoming a major trend among large public gardens. All varieties of cactus are New World Plants, meaning they are native to North and South America. This garden also includes a selection of grasses, perennials, and bulbs that grow well in this dry location.
These evergreen trees or shrubs are early-blooming, beautiful Southern favorites. Originally hailing from Eastern or Southern Asia, camellias do well in our climate due to similar growing conditions.
These plants are all cone-bearing, needled evergreens. Many conifers do not typically thrive in the South, but many dwarf species survive well in Memphis. The largest specimens are the Blue Atlas Cedars, a native of Morrocco. The Conifer Collection contains plants from all over the world.
Formally named The Thomas Trotter Daylily Garden, this collection of approximately 500 different daylilies is recognized as an official Display Garden by the American Hemerocallis Society. The origination of this garden occurred in 1982 when Thomas Trotter, a charter member of the Memphis Daylily Society, donated a collection of daylilies to the Memphis Botanic Garden. Since then, the Memphis Daylily Society has expanded the collection and contributes to the care and maintenance of this garden with an active group of volunteers on a routine basis.
The Garden's daylily collection includes a number of winners of the Stout Silver Medal, which is the highest award that a daylily cultivar can receive. National and regional hybridizers' daylilies are included, and every shape or form of daylily is represented in this collection.
Four Seasons Garden
This multi-bed garden contains a varied selection of annuals, perennials and tropical plants. The bones of the garden are provided by Carolina hornbeam and dwarf Burford holly. Our arbor, which was once full of purple wisteria, was recently replanted with Akebia quinata or chocolate vine. The two beds flanking the long fountain are planted in white panicled hydrangeas, white annuals and grasses.
The new Herb Garden, opened in October 2011, is a global garden representing different herbal traditions from around the world. The original design was created by Tom Pellett with support from landscape specialist Larry Griffin, the Memphis Herb Society, and Memphis Botanic Garden horticulture staff Rick Pudwell, Chris Cosby, and Kyle McLane.
With 750 species of plants, the Herb Garden serves as a giant testing ground to see which herbs will thrive in the Mid-South. It also offers a hands-on educational space for adult and youth educational programs highlighting the diverse uses of herbs.
The Herb Garden includes three distinct spaces separated by paths made from pervious concrete, an award-winning feature installed by Baltz & Sons concrete. This porous concrete allows water to seep through into the ground, making it an environmentally-friendly material that is instrumental in maintaining plant growth. Visitors will recognize the traditional formal herb garden with its symmetrical layout and many examples of plants with practical and medicinal uses. A woodland area features sections for herbs native to North and South America, Asia, and Europe. A loosely-structured meadow area is home to more robust plants that are too large for a formal herb bed.
Memphis Botanic Garden's Holly Collection is one of the most extensive found in any public garden. Featuring the personal collection of Barbara Taylor, Past-President of the International Holly Society, the collection contains all of the major species and many cultivars available in the trade, as well as some rare and unusual selections. In December of each year, visitors are encouraged to "take a Holly Hike," a self-paced walking tour with an informational map, to discover some of these striking treasures that often go unnoticed.
Hostas are herbaceous perennial plants, meaning they die to the ground each winter. Hostas are available in hundreds of varieties, all of which flower, but they are primarily grown for their foliage. Rodents called voles eat the roots of hostas, so they are often grown in containers and then planted into the ground.
The Hosta Trail at the Garden is designated as an American Hosta Society National Display Garden. Requirements for this distinction are: an educational mission, a significantly large and appropriately labeled collection, and a commitment to maintain the garden. There are currently only seventeen AHS Display Gardens.
Our Hosta Trail is one of only two Display Gardens in the Southern United States. It was established in 1999 and received the Display Garden designation in 2006. The Mid-South Hosta Society assists in maintaining the hosta beds.
Hyde & Seek Prehistoric Plant Trail
Located just past the Wildflower Woodland, this garden trail and play area is perfect for families and school groups to learn while they connect with their natural surroundings. Dinosaur statues, a cave, fossil dig pit, play structure, and interpretive signage make this area truly unique. Ferns, palms, magnolias, and other plants that date from prehistoric times take center stage in this garden.
The Memphis Fern Society donated and planted the ferns in this area, and volunteers from the society help maintain this fern collection. Another gift, a tremendous piece of petrified wood found and donated by Memphis Stone and Gravel Company in 2007, sits near the entrance to the Prehistoric Plant Trail, offering an up-close lesson on this natural phenomenon.
There are approximately 35 varieties of hydrangea throughout the Garden, with three areas specifically devoted to these popular plants. The original planting of hydrangeas is north of the Hosta Trail. The second, a lush garden surrounding the space adjacent to the Blecken Pavilion
, is a spectacular planting and popular site for garden weddings
and other special occasions. The panicled hydrangea collection is west of the Butterfly Garden.
Southwind Garden Club sponsors the Hydrangea Garden with an annual financial gift, and the area is maintained with support from the Mid-South Hydrangea Society.
Japanese Garden of Tranquility (Seijaku-En)
Groundbreaking ceremonies for a Japanese Garden, designed by Dr. P.T. Tono of Tokyo and developed in cooperation with the Memphis Bamboo Chapter of Ikebana International, were held in December of 1965. The Japanese Garden, with its Red Bridge, would soon become one of the most photographed locations in the Memphis area. The Japanese Garden was redesigned in 1989 by noted garden designer, Dr. Koichi Kawana, working with local landscape architect J. Ritchie Smith. Dr. Kawana pioneered the design of traditional Japanese gardens that utilize plants native to the area.
Our Japanese Garden is a beach garden and is home to Canada geese, turtles and koi fish. Koi, a species of carp, are considered valuable and live for a long time. During the warm months, feeding the koi is a favorite activity for Garden visitors.
This Garden boasts a variety of Japanese and regional native plants as well as symbolic elements that are unique to Japanese garden design. Each year, the Garden hosts candlelight tours with stations around the Japanese Garden, giving visitors a chance to learn more about the folklore and symbolism behind the design while strolling through this relaxing area as the sun sets.
The Japanese Garden is a popular spot for garden weddings and other rental events. Call us at 901-636-4106 to plan your special event.
Little Garden Club Sensory Garden
This garden, designed by Tom Pellet, enables individuals with special needs to enjoy their Garden experience with ease. The plants around the perimeter of the Sensory Garden are elevated, so they are easy to view from a wheelchair, and visitors are treated to the sounds of wind chimes and fountains as they tour the area. a new pergola entry, obelisk focal point, and new plantings and lighting.
This space celebrated 25 years with major renovations in 2014, maintaining the original design but creating a new, more formalized look. The planting has been simplified and the area still addresses all the senses, offering something unique every season. These new elements will create interest as visitors enter this garden and improve functionality and ambience for receptions, special events, and gatherings.
The Sensory Garden is a beautiful location for a small garden wedding or memorial event. Call us at 901-636-4106 for rental information.
This new vertical garden is a centerpiece for not only Live at the Garden Concerts, but also
the many educational events that take place in that area throughout the
year. With a length of approximately 1500 feet,
this planting utilizes sustainable gardening practices and demonstrates ways that eco-friendly gardening practices can enhance the landscape.
The Living Wall consists of three Camellia sasanqua hybrids, 'Dabney's
Star', Suzy Dirr, and 'Rose of Autumn.' In front of the camellias are "Peve Minaret' bald cypress, and two beds in the foreground are planted with a variety of
native grasses, perennials, and shrubs to offer three-season interest and to attract
wildlife. A variety of wildlife friendly annuals compliment the permanent
plantings and provide concentrated color during the concert season.
Madlinger Azalea Trail
There are dozens of azalea varieties along what is loosely-termed "Azalea Trail." In fact, many areas of the Garden boast colorfully-blooming azaleas, ranging from white to shades of pink and coral, to bright red and purple. The azaleas typically reach peak bloom in early April, with certain varieties blooming multiple times through October. In recent years, many of the beds have been replanted to feature Aromi hybrids, Satsuki, and Encore azaleas, and shade perennials have been integrated as complementary plantings.
Memphis Garden Club Sculpture Garden
This garden, nestled between the Visitors Center, Goldsmith Room, and the path to the Rose Garden, mixes sculptural elements and plants to create a unique, relaxing, outdoor space. The Sculpture Garden received a significant face lift in 2014, with new sculptures acquired and updated landscaping to create dramatic focal points for the artwork. Conveniently located just outside the Visitors Center, this space is an ideal spot for outdoor cocktails or casual seating, in conjunction with rental events in our Goldsmith Room.
Memphis Garden Club Water Garden
When the Goldsmith Civic Garden Center was constructed in 1966, Memphis Garden Club enhanced the building with this serene Water Garden. Prime bloom time for water plants is during the hot summer months, but carefully-planned, creative plantings and sculptural fountains add visual interest even during the winter months. While not accessible to foot traffic, this garden provides a beautiful backdrop for the Water Garden Room
, art exhibits
in the West Gallery, and Fratelli's Cafe
in the Visitors Center.
Meyer/Mcdonald Dogwood Trail
The Memphis Botanic Garden's dogwood collection includes both Korean and American species of these spring-blooming trees. These plants have colorful flowers that typically reach peak bloom in early April, about the same time as the azaleas.
Michie Magnolia Trail
This "trail" encompasses over 300 trees throughout the Garden. Many of the native magnolia species are evergreen, but all of the Asian varieties are deciduous, meaning they lose their leaves in the winter, and often start flowering in February. The American varieties bloom as early as May and throughout the summer.
Nana’s Garden/Charlotte Sawyer Daffodil Trail
Over 300,000 bright yellow, white, and orange blooms grace the Garden from the end of February through April. The daffodils cover a gently-sloping hill that overlooks the Japanese Garden of Tranquility and stretches east to the Blecken Pavilion.
Nature Photography Garden
This one-of-a-kind concept garden offers nature photographers an ideal space for capturing the beauty of plants and native wildlife through the camera's eye. With its stunning water feature and a diverse selection of 250 types of plants, this garden space creates a habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. A collection of artistic design elements offer unique focal points and views, all providing unique opportunities for photographers of all skill levels to capture the beauty of the garden...and we think other visitors will enjoy the view as well!
Rick Pudwell Horticulture Center
Made possible through the support of Jabie and Helen Hardin in 2006, the Rick Pudwell Horticulture Center includes three working greenhouses plus a work space for the Garden's horticulture staff and volunteers. This complex, located at the south end of the main parking lot, marks a step forward in environmental awareness and
self-sufficiency. Solar panels help generate the energy that powers the facility, and feed into the MLGW green power grid. The three greenhouse spaces include an orchid house, a cactus and succulent house, which is home to Kirk Pamper's noteworthy sansevieria collection, and a propagation greenhouse. These provide space for Garden staff, along with a growing group of volunteers, to cultivate many of the plants that you see throughout the Garden's 96-acre grounds. The Garden also offers plants from its greenhouse selection at our seasonal plant sales.
In 1958, the Rose Garden from Overton Park was moved to Audubon Park, now the current site of Memphis Botanic Garden. 11 years later, Mrs. Vance Norfleet donated the fountain that is currently the centerpiece for the 75 species of roses located in this garden. Since its major renovation in 2001, the Rose Garden has been a major attraction for visitors and a popular backdrop for garden weddings.It is maintained with the support of The Memphis & Dixie Rose Society.
Roses have been cultivated for hundreds of years, creating many varieties within the three main types, modern, antique, and climbing. Our Rose Garden is fashioned after formal gardens of the past. The center beds contain modern roses, most of which are either hybrid tea, floribunda, or grandiflora roses. The beds on the outer rings of the garden consist of antique and climbing roses.The Rose Garden begins blooming in late March or early April, and continues throughout the warm season, with some still blooming as late as Thanksgiving.
Tennessee Bicentennial Iris Garden
In 1953, 2,500 iris rhizomes from the gardens of Mrs. Morgan Ketchum were donated, and the Ketchum Memorial Iris Garden was created. This gift marked the beginning of planned beds and displays for the Gardens of Audubon Park, later to become Memphis Botanic Garden. Later designated as the Tennessee Bicentennial Iris Garden, this breath-taking area with well-tended circular beds and statue of the goddess Iris in the center of a serene reflecting pool, is a focal point for Garden visitors and a scenic spot for garden weddings.
Bearded Irises are the primary species of iris in the garden, with hundreds of varieties of bearded irises planted here. Other types of irises planted in the garden include Louisiana, Japanese, Siberian, and Spuria.
W.C. Paul Arboretum
In 1957, landscape architect George Madlinger and the Lumberman's Club of Memphis continued the long-time dream of the late W.C. Paul, an active member of the Memphis Men's Garden Club, by creating an arboretum in the Gardens of Audubon Park.The W.C. Paul Arboretum and nearby iris garden were two early projects that served as catalysts for a section of Audubon Park to be developed as a botanical garden.
Many of the trees in this original arboretum area are well over 50 years old, with a few notable rare or unique varieties as part of the collection. Luster leaf hollies, a hardy rubber tree, and Chinese chestnuts are among the staff favorites.
Now encompassing the full 96 acres of the Memphis Botanic Garden, our arboretum boasts more than 170 species of trees, and the Garden is certified as a Level 4 Arboretum by the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council, and is the only Urban Forestry Center of Excellence for the state of Tennessee. The Garden offers guided Notable Tree tours for groups with advance notice, and casual visitors may pick up an arboretum map at the front desk for a self-guided tour. Call 901-636-4128 for information on scheduling a guided group tour.
This area is comprised of native plants, or plants you would expect to see while walking through a native woodland in the Southeastern United States. Many species are labeled, such as Jewel Weed, the natural antidote for poison ivy. Wildflowers bloom in the spring, from late March through April. Red and bottlebrush buckeyes, native hydrangeas, and azaleas extend the colorful season through summer; and the changing foliage of the trees provide glorious color in the fall.